Charitable organisation Stichting De Verre Bergen has made a €24.5m (£21.7m/$27.6m) donation to Stadion Feijenoord, the body behind the delivery of a new stadium for Feyenoord, in a deal that will guarantee 3,884 free tickets for local children to every home game played by the Dutch Eredivisie football club.

De Verre Bergen invests in social programs in Rotterdam and the agreement will result in the establishment of a special ‘Vak van Zuid’ zone in the new stadium.

“With the Vak van Zuid, Feyenoord will have the largest social program for competition visits in Europe,” said Jan de Jong, director of Feyenoord.

“More than 65,000 seats will be available for children from the neighbourhood on an annual basis. This collaboration fits in well with our objectives of social cohesion and closer contact with the residents of South Rotterdam.

“This is a nice form of (alternative) financing. We take major steps and at the same time engage in corporate social responsibility. We will see more beautiful things from this.”

The tickets will be given to children aged between 10 and 15, with the cash injection from De Verre Bergen to be reflected in the next version of the business and financing plan for the new stadium.

Roelof Prins, director of Stichting De Verre Bergen, said: “There are children who practically live next to the stadium, but never attend a match. We also want children from families who don’t have enough money and who live in the South to have the opportunity to taste the atmosphere in the Feyenoord stadium.

“Given the long duration, we assume that in the longer term this program with the new Stadion Feijenoord will contribute to solidarity in the city, reduce disparity and promote integration.”

In April, the De Nieuwe Ploeg consortium was added to the team that is responsible for the delivery of the new stadium. The Nieuw Stadion BV organisation said De Nieuwe Ploeg, which consists of construction companies BAM and BESIX, would serve as a construction team partner for the further development of the new stadium.

The announcement came after stakeholders behind the project in March revealed a one-year delay for the delivery of the venue, stating there were too many risks in sticking to the original timetable. Officials had targeted start of construction in mid-2020 for an opening in the summer of 2023. However, these dates have now been shifted to April 2021 and June 2024, respectively.

new business plan for the project was revealed in February which included a number of changes to the original vision. In December, Feyenoord was given the green light to continue with efforts to develop the largest football stadium in the Netherlands after the project had stalled in recent months.

It was reported in November that local authorities were concerned over major delays for the 63,000-seat project, which has been costed at €444m and is at the centre of a wider €1.5bn regeneration of the southern part of Rotterdam.

In other news, it was also announced yesterday (Wednesday) that real estate developer AM has signed an agreement with Stichting Gebiedsontwikkeling aan de Maas for the acquisition of Parkstad Zuid, which is part of the Feyenoord City plan.

This will allow for the start of the development of Feyenoord City, the area surrounding the new stadium.

Bas Kurvers, Alderman of the Municipality of Rotterdam, said: “Parkstad really completes the Laan op Zuid and forms a beautiful connection with Feyenoord City and Stadionpark. We are very happy with AM’s plans to develop at least 250 homes here. This contributes to the liveliness in the area and addresses a major housing challenge for the city.”

Image: OMA